Monday, January 31, 2011

Accharapakkam aatcheeswarar


I decided to visit the place enroute to a camp at Neyveli.  The place is very easy to find. After  melmaruvathur the town of accharapakkam is found where the road (NH 45) takes a right curve when you enter the town there are directions posted ask for the police station and turn left here the road takes a further left and within no time you are in the temple
The temple is related to the Tripurantaka legend where Shiva destroyed the asuras with a mere look. Since he started without pooja to Ganapathi the achchu of the chariot broke  here hence  (Achcu + iRu+ Pakkam).
There is a ganapathy which needs to be prayed before you enter the temple which has been referred to by Paramacharya of kanchi in deivathin kural
http://www.kamakoti.org/tamil/part4kural13.htm
http://www.kamakoti.org/tamil/part4kural14.htm
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Legend behind the temple:
Once when a Pandya king was passing through this place, he saw a giant lizard (udumbu) running through the jasmine bushes and disappeared at the base of a Kondrai tree. This was because these lizards were used in war to climb up ramparts.The king ordered to cut the tree and while doing so, blood oozed out from it and they saw a beautiful Shiva lingam there. The king was very disturbed during the night due to his act and Lord Shiva appeared in his dream and told to build a temple at that place. The king arranged all the materials for constructing the temple and requested a sage to do so - Sage Thirinendhrathari – sage with three eyes (thiri – three, nendhra –eyes) – and continued his journey. On his  return he was surprised to see two main shrines and when he enquired, the sage replied that “one is Umaiyatcheeswarar who engrossed you whereas the other one is the Aatcheeswarar who engrossed me”. The scar that was produced when the King cut the tree is present at the back of the Aatcheeswarar. Sage Thirinendhrathari did penance here for long time after completing the temple and under the kondrai tree here, got the dharshan of Lord Shiva alighting from the divine chariot during the Thiripura samharam. This is being celebrated every year now as “Kondraiyadi Seva” during the seventh day evening of the Chithrai festival.DSCN2320
As you enter below  the raja gopuram  you find the amman sannidhi on your rightDSCN2324
The amman is called Balasukhambal, Sundara Nayaki . The idol is facing South. She is in  the standing position and is very enchanting
The main temple is unique with two main praharams DSCN2323
One main praharam is in line with the Dwajastambam the aatcheeswarar who is almost submerged in the ground with a square avudiar . The nandhi in front of him is bowed in dhyanam and is supposed to be built over the Jeeva samadhi of sage Thirinendhrathari ( this is seen on the right side of the pic)
and the other one is umayathcheeswarar with a round avudiar in line with the Rajagopuram  with the majestic nandi.( this sannidhi is seen on the left hand side of the pic below)Behind the lingam is Lord Shiva and Parvathi devi in human form in Marriage posture as stone sculpture. Sage Agasthiar got the dharshan of Lord Shiva’s marriage in 17 places and this is one of those places (In the Kalyana Sundareswarar temple at Nallur near Kumbakonam also Shiva and Parvathi are in marriage posture in the main shrine behind the main linga  as sudai sculpture so also in the thiruvadigai veerattanam see my previous blog on this temple).DSCN2322
The Umayatcheswarar sannidhi has a unique neighbor Srinivasa perumal with Lakshmi . Perumal standing on an avudiar probably to signify that siva and vishnu are but the same!!
There are sannidhis for saraswaty and  Pillaiyar with His consorts Sidhi and Budhi,  Sundara moorthy Swamigal with Sangili Nachiyar and Pavai Nachiyar, Sekkizhar, Natarajar surrounded by Sivagama Sundari, Manicka Vasagar and Karaikkal Ammaiyar, Kala Bairavar with a Brahma Kabala garland of skulls are the other deities present in the inner praharam.
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Significance: One of the 275 Thevara Padal Petra Sthalams
Dharshan time: 7 AM to 12 noon and 4 to 9 PM
Contact: Sankar Gurukkal – 98423 09534

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Jagannath temple Thirumazhisai

In front of the othandeshwarar temple described in the previous post is the road leading to this famous temple. t'isai alwar3

It is associated with Shri Thirumazhisai alwar who was ordained by Sri.Peyyalwar and there is a sanidhi here for him with the third eye like Siva on his left toe.tisaialwar t'isai alwar

Lord Jagannath temple in Thirumazhisai is one of the three important Jagannath temples in the world. Jagnnath is a name given to Lord Krishna. Puri is considered as Uttara Jagannath Kshetra (North Jagannath), and Tiruppullani is considered as the Dakshina Jagannath Kshetra (South Jagannath), and Thirumazhisai Nagar is considered as the Madhya Jagannath Kshetra (the middle Jagannath site).

 

Even though the exact age of Jagannath temple is unknown, from the records and inscriptions, it is evident that this temple was maintained by Kulothunga Chola III of 12th century AD. Tirumazhisai Alwar, the great devotee of Lord Vishnu, who was associated closely with this temple, belonged to 8th century AD. Hence, we can assume that this temple should be at least 1000 years old. It could have been built by Chola kings when they were ruling this region.

DSCN2313 The main gate leads to the praharam as seen above. The entrance to the temple is east facing to the sannidhi of Jagannatha as seen in the pic belowDSCN2315

Jagannath is found with his consorts Rukmini and Satyabhama on his either sides. All the three idols are big, wide, and gigantic, and they are in sitting posture. The idols of the saints Markandeya and Brighu are also seen in the sanctum itself.

Though this is not a Divya desam it is an abhimana desam.DSCN2316

 

Thirumangaivalli thaayaar

Thirumangaivalli thayar, portrayed as a separate Goddess is believed to be very powerful. She blesses Her devotees with prosperity and all types of wealth. Vahana mandap, Paramapadha vaasal and Sri Azhagiya Singar sannidhi are situated at the outer prahara of the main temple. At the northern part of the prahara is located the sannidhi of Sri Lakshminarasimha.

Sri Vaishnavi

Sri Vaishnavi has been portrayed in a standing posture with the Conch and Chakra of Thirumal in Her hands. Special Thirumanjanam and prayers are held during the time of Rahukalaa on Tuesdays and Fridays. Girls waiting for marriage and their parents offer flower garlands to Her.

At the Azhagiya singar sannidhi, Sri Lakshminarasimha is portrayed with Lakshmi Devi on His lap. To its left are situated the sannidhis of Andal and Sri Manavala Mamunigal and a marriage hall.

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Next is the Sanidhi for Thirumazhisai Alwar who was a giant in Vaishnavite traditions. The story about him  reads thus:

Thirumazhisai alwar is the 4th of the 12 alwars. He is also called Thirumazhisaipiran. He has sung Naanmugan thiruvanthathi and Thiruchandavrutham in the Naalayira Dvyaprabhandam. Naanmugan thiruvanthathi contains 96 pasuras while Thiruchandavrudham contains 120 pasuras. He has visited Thiruvarangam, Thiruvallikeni, Anbil, Ooragam, Evvul and Kannan Kabhisthala and has made Mangalasasana on them.

Tirumazhisai Alwar was born to Bhargava Rishi, and he was born as a lifeless foetus without limbs. He was thrown into a forest. Lord Vishnu appeared before him and gave life and limbs. Then, he was found out and picked up by a tribe named Tiruvalan. Tirumazhisai learnt about Buddhism and Jainism. He was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. It was Peyalwar who converted him to Vaishnavism. A repository of mystic powers, Thirumazhisai Azhwar, who is believed to be an `Amsa' of Sri Sundarsana or the Holy Discus, even in his teens, mastered all the Vedas and Agama Sastras. He studied other religions like Buddhism, Jainism and Saivism as he had admitted in one of his verses. When he studied Saivism he came to be known as Sivavakyar, according to historians. But some historians dispute this. They find a lot of difference between the verses of Sivavakyar and Thirumazhisai Azhwar and consider them to be two different saints. Peyalwar, one of the first three saints known as ``Mudhal Azhwars'', met Thirumazhisai and discussed philosophy with him for two days, and he became an ardent devotee of the Lord after receiving the ``Pancha Samskara'' from Peyalwar. As tradition has it, an important event took place when he did penance near a lake known as ``Gajendra Saras''. Lord Siva indulged in a duel during which He opened his third eye. The Azhwar, by his mystic powers, showed the third eye he had in his foot. Impressed by his sincere devotion to Lord Narayana, Siva gave him the title of ``Bhaktisara'' or the quintessence of devotion by which name he came to be known later.This is seen in the Idol of the alwar seen in this templeThirumazhisai azhvar Moolavar

It is learnt that the temple was maintained by Kulothunga Chola III. From the inscription dated AD. 1178-1218, we learn that Thirumazhisai was called Chaturvedi mangalam. During the 13th century, it had been called Thirumazhisai agaram. The Thirukachi Nambis, who lived in the 10th century, had sung in praise of this sthala.

Thiru Othandeeswarar Temple, Thirumazhisai

 

On the Chennai Tirupati road when you take a right turn from Poonamalle and enter the town of thirumazhisai you can not miss this big temple and the tank on your right hand side. It is about 25 kms from chennai

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. The Legend behind the temple:

Sage Agasthiyar along with his disciples came walking towards south of Thiruverkaadu and stayed in this place, which was a forest filled with Azhinjal trees. As Azhinjal tree is considered most sacred, Sage Agasthiyar installed a Shiva Lingam and worshipped Lord Shiva here. God, pleased with Agasthiyar’s prayers gave dharshan of His wedding ceremony to Agasthiyar and all his disciples.Sage Agasthiyar overwhelmed by the mercy of the God, requested God to take abode in this place in Kalyaana Kolam (posture as just wed couple). As wished by Agasthiyar, Lord Shiva and Parvathi took abode here as Uma Maheshwara just behind the Shiva Lingam, worshipped by Agasthiyar.

There are 3 places of then ‘Thondai Mandalam’, where Sage Agasthiyar had worshipped Lord Shiva under Azhinjal tree. They are Azhisoor near Kanchipuram, Thirumazhisai near Poonamallee and Chinnakkaavanam near Ponneri. The divine coincidence is all the 3 temples lie on a straight line.
As centuries rolled by, the place again became a dense forest. An ancient Chozha king called Karikaal Chozha was ruling this Thondai Naadu having Kanchipuram as his capital. He was troubled by people called Kurumbars near his frontier( refer posts on the Thirupachur temple). He was passing through this forest on his elephant for a battle against them. While crossing this forest, he found that his elephant got couldn’t move further as some wild creeper encircled its leg. The king got down from the elephant, took his sword and whipped to cut the creepers off.
He was shocked to find blood oozing out from the place where he hit the sword. He found the beautiful Shiva Lingam, which was earlier worshipped by Agasthiyar at this place. Realizing the sin committed by him but cutting the Lord’s idol itself, he immediately took his sword and cut his arm. The Lord was pleased by the devotion of the king towards Him and made the king get his arm back.
The king after winning the battle against his enemies came back here and built this temple for Lord Siva. Since, the Lord gave back the hands to the king the deity got the name 'Kai Thandha Piraan' ( in Tamil means 'God, who gave hands').

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The main entrance leads to the outer praharam seen above.

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The main vimanam is built in the gajaprushti style . The entrance to the sannidhi is by the east  facing gate where there is a huge temple tankDSCN2310DSCN2305

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Lord Ganesha gives dharshan here as Devaraja Ganapathi facing the main entrance . The Nandhi is called Dharma nandi . The main sannidhi has Shrines for Sivan. Parvathi and Utsava moorthis of Ganesha. Natarajar., Murugan.

The main deity (Shiva Lingam) is facing east here, behind which Lord Shiva and Parvathi are seen here in Kalyaana Kolam, blessing the devotees. Many devotees come here and worship the Lord, praying for their sooner marriage.

The Ambal sannidhi is facing south and the idol is called Sri Kulirndha Naayagi  holding Angusam and Paasam (weapons) on hand and showing Abhaya Hastham, blessing the devotees.

Sri Maha Bhairavar is present north east to Sri Ambaal and is facing south. Other deities are Sri Dhakshinamurthy, Naalvar, Lord Brahma and Sri Durga in the Praakaaram.

In the outer Praakaaram, there is another shrine for Lord Shiva called Sri Gangadareswarar. It is believed that Sri Gangadareswarar was installed and worshipped by Sage Pulasthiyar, who was the disciple of Agasthiyar. The Goddess for this shrine is Sri Parvatha Vardhini.( seen in the back ground of the photo of the well below)
There is a separate shrine for Lord Saneeswarar, facing west, at the north east corner of this temple.

There is a well nearby, from which the water is used for Abishegams to the deities. This is called Kalyaana Theertham.DSCN2309

Originally Azhinjal tree was the Sthala Viruksham for this temple. But, as Azhinjal trees are not found here at present, Vilvam and Paarijaatham are considered Sthala Virukshams for this temple. There is a very huge and beautiful temple pond on the eastern side of the temple. This pond is called Agasthiya Theertham.

 

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The present priest is the second generation priest  here and his family have been in service since last 100 years!

Thirupachur vaacheeswaran temple

 

I had  an unexpected trip to Tirupati where I passed by the thirupachur vaacheeswara temple. The temple is situated on the Chennai Tirupati route via Thiruvallur .Thiruvallur is situated at 50 km distance from Chennai The temple is located in Thirupachur just out side the Thiruvallur collectorate,It is  situated at 7 km distance from the Thiruvallur railway station. . As the temple is situated on the Thiruvallur-Thirutani bus route, devotees can reach the temple by bus also.

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DSCN2285 The Temple has many legends attached to it and is a very big complex.The temple has been praised byThirunavukkarasar, Thirugnanasambhandar and Ramalinga Vallalar.The Presiding Diety is Vaacheswarar and has the Srichakra enshrined in front of the sivalingam by Adisankara.

The priest told me the temple is more than a 1500 years old and was primarily built by Karikala Chola.

AS you enter the eastern gate you see the Kodimaram and the Swarnakali.

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(present state with covered enclosure next to kodimaram)

This Kali was fighting against the Chola king aligning with the Kurumbas (local tribals) and upon the request of Karikala Chola who was a great siva bhaktha, Lord shiva enticed kali with a golden necklace and enticed her here so first see her before visiting the temple.

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The word ‘Pachu’ means bamboo in Tamil. Once, when some people were hunting in the forest, they saw a cow showering milk from its udder on something. When they dug the spot, they found a Sivalinga there. The Chola king Karikala came to know about this incident and built the temple here. A race, called Kurumba was giving lot of trouble to the king. Samanas, who supported these people tried to even kill the king through snake-bite. The king prayed at this sthala to protect him from these people. The Lord destroyed the snake and saved the king from the scheming Kurumbas. They wanted to bury the snake and the hunters used axes to dig the spot and one of the axes hit the head portion of the lingam. Even today, the scar is seen on the lingam. The term ‘Vaasi’ means axe in Tamil and it is believed that the deity at this sthala got the name Vacheeswara because of this term.

The Southern entrance Gopuram which is the Main entrance

DSCN2293 The entrance to the main complex is by the southern gate and this leads us to the Ganapathy enclosure 

Upon entering the temple, the devotees are greeted by Lord Vinayaka (Ganesh). Shodasa Ganapathy is depicted in eleven murtis of various sizes, which are grouped together. Elsewhere in the temple another five murtis of Ganapathy are found. The group of eleven Vinayaka murtis is called Ekadasa Vinayaka, ekadasa meaning 'eleven' in Sanskrit. These were worshipped by Lord Vishnu to get rid of his Madhu kaitapa dosha for having killed the two rakshasas by that name  and another version of the priest was to retain his earnings as he was unable to create new wealth as all he obtained was given only  as interest to kubera!!

The next sannidhi is Ambal sanidhi Usually, in Sivalayas, Ambal sannidhi would be located to the left of the sanctum of the Lord. But here, Ambal has been portrayed to the right, facing the east. The sanctum of Vacheeswara is also facing the east. Worship  is offered to the Lord only after it is done to Ambal. The ambal is standing and is respelendent in bridal attire.

The main Sivan  sannidhi is next. It has a gaja prishti vimanam signifying a swayambhu lingam.It is a seperate enclosure which has its own ante chamber and we can see the Sivalingam with the axe mark with sri chakra in front and also Somaskanda sculpture of Siva Parvathy and murugan  in the back ground in the Main sannidhi. Shiva here is also known as Theenda Thirumeni nadhar, referring to one of his dance styles. 

In  the inner  praharam, we see sannidhis of Subrahmanya, Somaskanda and the Navgrahas. Sri Dakshinamoorthy sannidhi is located as a separate sannidhi, facing the south. At the ‘goshta’ of the sanctum, Lingothbhavamoorthy has been portrayed facing the west.

In the temple's inner praharam there is also a very beautiful deity of Lord Brahma.

Found in a standing posture with three faces and four arms, this exceptional deity of Brahmadeva resides in a rectangular stone niche in the outer sanctum sanctorum wall. Holding the mala and lota in his upper hands, his lower right hand is in abhaya mudra, with the other resting on his hip. Brahma wears an ornate crown, girdle and jewelry.

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(pic courtesyhttp://www.harekrsna.com/sun/features/11-09/features1540.htm)

The significance of Brahma here is that Vedas are being given protection by Siva.

At the northern end of the  praharam, Sri Vishnu Durga, Sri Veerabhadra and Sri Sornabhairava can be seen.

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great sages including Bringirishi, Romarishi, Bharadwaj, Kashyap, Vasishta, Narada, Sukar, Viswamitra and Vyasa ,great souls like Mankandeya and Abhimanyu have  worshipped here. The temple has two tanks – Somatheertham and Mangalatheertham. The sthalavritcha is bamboo tree.

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(Inscription in the temple)

Thevarams put up for devotees to recite for general well being)

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The temple is badly in need of planned maintainence but there is no doubt about the deep spirituality of the place when you enter the temple

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sri Sivaloga nayagi Naageshwara temple –Poovarasan kuppam-Navagraha kshetram (Rahu ketu sthalam)

A short walk away in front of the Poovarasan Kuppam Lakshmi narasimha swamy temple (described beforehand ) is this Siva temple. The temple is also called Nadu nattu Naageshwaram . It is  a Rahu- Ketu parihara sthalam. The temple is quaint and small.
The temple has been recently renovated and is spic and span with polished granite interiorsrahu ketu0001
The main Sanctum houses a Sivalingam Sri.Naageshwarar. The amman sannidhi is to the right  of the main sanidhi and houses  a standing amman Sri Sivaloga nayagi.
To the west side in the outer courtyard are the seperate shrines of Rahu and Ketu side by side with their respective consorts. ( I could not take Photos inside).
These are the details from the Gurukal’s visiting card  as displayed below.
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G.Nagaraja gurukkal,Sivan Koil,Poovarasankuppam-605105Villupuram DT,Tamilnadu,9442010834,9486748013 .

Poovarasan Kuppam Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy


Yesterday I was enroute to Villupuram for a camp. I visited this ancient temple also known as Dakshina Ahobilam
How to reach: The temple is in Villupuram district enroute to Panrutti about 16 kms away from villupuram
From Villupuram you can take the Panrutti road and once you cross the Koilanur crossing (you can reach this crossing directly from Vikravandi on the chennai Tanjore road) proceed till you come to the Valavanoor crossing take a right here and proceed  for 4 kms to  Siruvanthadu ask for poovarasankuppam it is within a couple of KMS. The road is motor able . There are also Autos available from Valavanoor and siruvandhaadu. The temple is in the centre of the village and easily foundShri Lakshmi Narasimhar Singrigudi PoovarasanKuppam Parikkal Route Map
Map courtesy http://www.indusladies.com/forums/temples-and-deities/44744-lakshminarasimhar-temple-2.html ( the blog is very informative )


There are stone etchings inside this temple dating back to the 3rd Century AD. Also, there are references to construction during Narasimha Pal lava's reign (7th Century AD). There are also inscriptions indicating Krishna Deva Raya’s visit to this temple . The temple is under renovation now and I saw a good enthusiastic crowd on a sunday.
This is one of the four Narasimha temples around Villupuram (others being Anthili, Parikkal and Singiri – There is also the Sayana Narasimha at Thiruvaithigai).
Both Singiri Narasimha and Parikkal Narasimha which are in a straight line are facing the Poovarasan Kuppam Narasimha. Since this was the first appearance after Hiranya Samhaaram- the place is also called Dakshina Ahobilam. The darshan was to please the Saptharishis,
The main sannidhi houses The Lakshmi Narasimhar. There is Garudalwar facing the main sannithi. The  angry lord is being pacified by Lakshmidevi who is on his left lap and each of them has an arm around the other.poovarasan narasimha 3
Thaayar’s Posture
A unique feature at this temple is the posture of Lakshmi. One eye of the Goddess is turned towards the Lord and the other eye is welcoming the devotees. Also, interestingly Lakshmi and Narasimha are seen at the same height at this temple!!!
The main sanidhi also houses the utsavamoorthy of both Narasimhar and Lakshmi.
There is a seperate sannidhi for Lakshmidevi (Amrithavali thayar) at the North east cornerAhobila valli thayar11
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On the South east side is the sannidhi for AndalAndal14
The South west corner has Anjeneya in a seperate enclosureHanumar15
The place is Neatly maintained. I received dates/honey/panchamrudha prasadam with ven pongal!which was truly the highlight of the visit!!
All pics courtesyhttp://picasaweb.google.com/Star.Varada/PoovarasanKuppamTemple#
Temple particulars
Temple Time : 8am-12.30pm and 4pm-8pm
Contact numbers. : Parthasarathy Bhattar @ 94439 59995 or 0413 2698191
Auto at Siruvanthadu: Murugan (driver) @ 99656 35641
(courtesy http://prtraveller.blogspot.com/2009/08/poovarasan-kuppam-narasimha-temple.html)